I’d like to start out by saying that I have always thought of myself as an undateable catch. I’m a total catch because I’m well educated, enjoy comedy, and can eat more in one sitting than your average sumo wrestler. However, I’m totally undateable due to how uncomfortable romance makes me feel and my general apathy toward the word “love.” Also, it doesn’t help that I come from a broken home (cue sad music and my therapist).
These qualities make me into a great dating candidate on paper and a total terror when I’m thrust into the dating ring. While I’d absolutely love to find someone to share my life (and my baggage) with, I generally dislike the entire male population. I also want and need their attention. It’s complicated, like my Facebook relationship status.
However, there is a type of male attention that my friends and I have been receiving lately that confuses us. This is what I like to call the “Accidental Date.”
This isn’t a phenomenon I’d given much thought to until recently, when I found myself in my own Accidental Date situation. I thought I had plans to meet a fellow comedy writer for a drink to discuss our work and potential job opportunities or advice we may have for each other. My companion thought otherwise, which I realized when he attempted to force several bottles of hard cider (fuck beer) down my throat and then insist I join him back at his place for some reruns of Cheers.
I could have sworn we were only having networking drinks. I think I seriously disappointed him when I got on the subway back to singledom, leaving him at the bar where nobody seemed to know his name.
Curious as to whether anyone else I knew had experienced the Accidental Date, I reached out to a few female cohorts. Turns out quite a few of us have been blindsided with a date.
One college friend met a “hot sensitive bro” in a writing class during her freshman year. When she thought they were getting together over a class assignment, he actually ended up sitting her in his car and making her listen to the entire Ok Computer album. She was confused. And also probably bored, considering that album is long and there was nothing to eat in the car. She says this has continued to happen and that she thinks the only proper dates she’s been on have been Accidental Dates.
Long Ride Home
Another female compatriot told me a story about her first trip home from college. A high school friend’s older brother asked if she’d like to take the bus home to New York with him. Believing this would be innocuous and, at best, that this guy would protect her from any creeps on the two-hour bus ride, he instead proceeded to snuggle into her and put his arm over her shoulders. Never did she ever consider that taking a bus could be considered a date. To be fair, I think the bro in this situation was a genius considering he got the girl into an inescapable, enclosed space before making any moves.
A similar thing happened to a friend of mine who looks more Aryan than a Hitler wet dream. With bright blonde hair and blue eyes, it was shocking when a rabbi-in-training she knew back in high school asked if she’d like to reconnect after many years apart. To my friend, this was just two old buddies getting together and rehashing all the good times from their shared teenage years. And by good times, I mainly mean sitting next to each other in math class and the occasional shared lunch table.
Things took a turn when my friend greeted her very Jewish compatriot at a restaurant for lunch. He insisted on paying and asked her if she’d like to meet his mother. Note to all those non-Jews: never meet the mother. Once you meet her, you are open to more judgment than you have ever experienced before. Especially if you’re not Jewish yourself. That’s when you’re completely ignored, mainly because you are unable to create Jewish children to propel the breed. In any case, my friend managed to escape the surprise date attack by saying she had to leave for church group.
Right Number, Wrong Guy
Finally, and perhaps worst of all, was the friend who met a nice guy while at an event in New York. They chatted all night and made plans to take a walk around Central Park the next day to continue the romance. The difference in this story is that this friend thought she was going on a date. She was actually excited to be in the company of a male, which at the rate most men go in terms of social interaction with women, is a big deal. But after walking a mile or two by the water, the guy’s phone rings. He tells her he has to answer. After hanging up, he let my friend know that it was his girlfriend.
This is a whole other breed of Accidental Date. This is The Date that kills all our hopes and dreams. Also, this is probably The Date that your girlfriend finds out about and causes her to accuse you of emotional cheating. The girl thought she was on a date. The guy thought he was…what? What even happened here? Total disaster.
So why do dudes ask us to networking drinks of the LinkedIn variety or for homework help when all they really want is the nookie? All I can gather is that there’s less room for error when it comes to asking a girl out on a date. She won’t say no to an innocent bus ride or a tutoring session. She might say no to anything that sounds remotely romantic but it’s hard to decline an invitation to do something productive or with a companion. However, when bros make the switcheroo and turn something into a date when the female is under the impression that it is not a romantic occasion, it makes us feel cheated.
In my personal experience, I felt offended. If you think this is a date, tell me beforehand. Don’t lull me into a false sense of security. When you lean toward my face while I point out my new crop of zits, I know this is no longer an innocent writing session. But at least as me before you consider soup in the grocery store parking lot to be a date.
So from one female to a world of males, please don’t put us on Accidental Dates. We don’t like it. If you want to romance us, suck it up and ask. And if you want to get networking drinks with me, please know that you will probably be going home to watch your Cheers reruns alone. But if you offer me Broad City or Parks and Recreation we might be in business…